Stop Press: Volunteer with the team to Build the Barns

Join the Hillyfield team (led by timber framer Henry Russell and Tom Hilliard Building) in the making of 3 barns in 3 styles in 1year! Opportunities for volunteer placements and educational workshops during the build. Go to the Barn Building 2019 tab above to find out more. 


Planning Inspectorate support permitted rights for forestry


Thank you everyone for your incredible support in our woodland appeal.

Permitted development rights of small-woodlanders are supported by the Planning Inspectorate.

It took 6 years of difficult negotiations with Dartmoor National Park, culminating in a Public Inquiry, until we have been able to move forward and in the process set a precedent for small woodlands. 


The Planning Inspectorate fully support that the barns we have asked for are reasonably necessary for forestry, were appropriately submitted, and agree that we now have permission to be build under permitted development rights.


For full details look at the paperwork on our appeal 'planning documents' page.

This is the joint press release sent out following the public inquiry, written with Dartmoor National Park Authority.






Dartmoor National Park Authority and The Hillyfield have announced today a joint agreement to support sustainable woodland management at The Hillyfield woodland on Dartmoor.


Commenting on the outcome, Doug King-Smith, owner of The Hillyfield, said:

I am delighted that our collective efforts have resulted in this agreement.  I would like to thank everyone who has given us support throughout this process, including local village residents, forestry and planning experts, members of parliament and community leaders.

It is great news that the needs of our small woodland restoration project and the enjoyment and benefits it gives to local communities have been recognised by the Dartmoor National Park Authority.  This gives us all an opportunity to move forward positively and to demonstrate the benefits generated by successful woodland restoration and community engagement.  My wife Claire and I are looking forward to continue playing our part in the woodland culture of Dartmoor.


James Aven of Dartmoor National Park Authority said: “We are pleased that this positive and constructive agreement is in keeping with Dartmoor’s importance as a National Park.  Dartmoor is a place of critical importance to the UK’s rural environment and this agreement will permit us to develop even more effective approaches to sustainable woodland development, the rural economy and environmental protection.”


Notes for Editors


Three applications for planning permission or prior approval had been refused for development of The Hillyfield woodland, and two enforcement notices had been served.  A Public Inquiry was held on 10-11 April 2018.  The main parties to the Inquiry – Dartmoor National Park Authority and The Hillyfield – reached a positive and constructive agreement on 11 April 2018.


Dartmoor National Park Authority have recognised:

  • The Hillyfield and its woodland management as being of benefit and great value to the local community and the environment

  • some structures and buildings are reasonably necessary to support the effective management of woodland at The Hillyfield, including timber drying, machinery storage, welfare provision for volunteers and workers, and a covered workspace.

  • the importance and positive emphasis placed by the Hillyfield on volunteers to implement their woodland management plan, as well as the apparent appropriateness of the Hillyfield making products from the land in the proposed barn by the hardstanding to provide an income, for example charcoal, timber and non-timber forest products (subject to scale).


On this basis, Dartmoor National Park Authority and the Hillyfield have agreed to settle the appeals relating to planning permission, prior approval and enforcement and have committed to working together to enhance Dartmoor’s efforts on forestry, woodland, volunteering and community development.



'I think the outcome of the enquiry has massive implications for the future management of small woods in the UK'
(Guy Watt, CEO of John Clegg Consulting)

'The silver lining is that your case really seems to get to the crux of the issue around permitted development and forestry'
Tom Kenny, head researcher at 'Shared Assets')

Planning to plant a tree for Tree Week? Join us on 18th JANUARY 2020 (postponed from solstice)


We plan to plant up a special area of trees to create a sacred grove close to the stone circle and nestled into a bank of large hedgerow trees. 

If you want to add a tree to this beautiful space then please get in touch.


This event is postponed from our usual winter solstice celebration and will be a small informal to celebrate the completion of 2 barns and our care of the land, as well as a belated gathering to celebrate the 'Every Tree Counts' planting day as part of this years tree-week. Bring a spade, something to share, and a warm wooly jumper :) 

Contact Doug on 07976589927 for times and to confirm you are coming. Thank you.

ROCKETLOG® The unique one log bonfire

Order Here - A Flaming Brilliant Gift!

Want to make a Donation to support our work? 

Or maybe download the EP of original music written for our appeal?

Just click on the birdie to the right :) 

'This is a remarkable project, run by dedicated, energetic and very well-informed people, which is a model for sustainable management of woodland on the fringes of Dartmoor'

(Dr Tom Greeves, Chair of 'The Dartmoor Society')

'I am inspired by the initiative and the energy of the project and equally appalled by the opposition that you have encountered which demonstrates how those in authority lose sight of the very values that they should be encouraging and protecting. They should be working with you and not against you' 
(Bishop James Jones, chair to the Independent Panel on Forestry, and Vice President of the Town and Country Planning Association)


'If we want to bring our rural communities back to life, one of the key parts to that is that we have diverse working woodlands, that bring people into the woods again learning new skills, creating new economies, which is what they’ve been modelling so beautifully at The Hillyfield' 

(Rob Hopkins, Transition Network Founder)

'Hillyfield should be held up as a first class case study for other owners and managers of small scale woodland as to how to restore neglected woodland responsibly and sustainably, balance ecological and financial objectives and support the local community and economy. The RFS hopes that the Inquiry examines the wider context of forestry policy and practice in England and supports the continued management of Hillyfield as a working woodland.'

(Simon Lloyd, Chief Executive, The Royal Forestry Society)

The Hillyfield is an award winning woodland on the southern edge of Dartmoor National Park.

We manage 45acres of ancient woodland and organic pasture for environmental and community benefit. There are loads of ways to Get Involved, be that through volunteering, at workshops, or one of our open days. If you want to help then click the 'Get Involved' tab at the top bar above.


Our aim is to help develop a culture of wood here on Dartmoor & you are welcome to join the journey or add something of your own. This year is the last years we will be felling larch due to the disease Phytophthora Ramorum - so if you want to help fell a woodland & replant then get in touch! However our main work is going to be barn building. After a long drawn out planning battle, we now have permission to go ahead with permitted rights for building the barns we need to help support our work in this special woodland on Dartmoor.


The River Harbourne winds through this steeply wooded valley. There are two lakes and we have planted a small herb garden, tree nursery, apple orchard and productive willow osier. We look after bees, chickens and ducks, and graze the meadows with sheep and cattle.


In 2018 we won Silver at the Royal Forestry Societies 'Excellence in Forestry Small & Farm Woodlands Award', and in 2014 we won 2nd prize at Devon County Show for best managed mixed objective woodland. It's what we are, a working woodland which is as much here for the trees and environment as for people. Woodlands offer SO much. We are also fortunate to have been granted support by the Forestry Commission, EWGS, DSDF, and Defra through the RDPE which has helped us on the journey.

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English woodland

Beautiful image of undermanaged woodland. We are actively restoring our woodlands at The Hillyfield